The earlier pictures were taken on my wee compact Canon ixus 970IS, which involved sneaking up on the butterflies. This can be very frustrating when they fly off, but very rewarding when they don't!

Since 2012 I have been using a Panasonic Lumix FZ150, which allows me to zoom in to the butterflies from a couple of metres away.



Sunday, 26 April 2020

Some local butterflies

We have recently moved house, which was in itself a long process, having inherited the house from my father four years ago, then waiting for my daughter to finish her high school exams, whilst planning alterations to the house, appointing an architect, applying for planning permission and having the building work done. We were lucky to have moved a week before the Covid-19 lock-down, but the building work stopped before completion and there has been much sorting and painting to do in the last four weeks. I realise that my blog is completely behind and I have much to catch up on, so here is a start with some local butterflies from last summer.

In July last year I surveyed a couple of areas close to our house for Northern Brown Argus, Aricia artaxerxes, and their food plant, Rockrose, Helianthemum nummularium. It is great that there is a project to survey and improve the habitat in this part of the Scottish Borders and I enjoyed exploring the countryside around our new home.


I was aware of a large area of Rockrose in the wee valley above our house, but as I walked over to the next valley, I was pleased to find quite a bit of Rockrose and several colonies of Northern Brown Argus.

There were also many other interesting butterflies. As I was walking out of the valley I met a lady driving up the track. She said she lived three miles up the track and I told her what I was doing. She said that there are lots of butterflies there in the summer and she suggested I should walk the three miles to the top of the valley.
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries

Green-veined White

So, two weeks later I followed her advice and discovered a beautiful walk, with loads of lovely habitat along the length of the valley. It was quite a windy day and there weren't as many butterflies flying as I had seen previously, other than hundreds of Peacocks. However, I did see an Otter, various dragonflies and damselflies and an Adder.
Dark Green Fritillary

Common Blue female

Comma

Peacock

Painted Lady

While I was walking there I remembered that I had seen an old record that Scotch Argus, Erebia aethiops, in the valley. I didn't know exactly where, but I did find some areas that looked very promising.

I hope to be able to walk there again this year, a little earlier in the season to see what I can find and I will check the map reference of those previous Scotch Argus records before I go. Let's hope the lock-down doesn't last too long.